Pastor James Menzies
James Menzies has been pastor at PBC since 1989. He grew up in Perryville and has attended the church since a child. He received his B.A. in Bible and M.A. in Old Testament from Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina and studied at the Seminary of the East in Worcester, MA. He received his PhD in Humanities from Salve Regina University, Newport RI.
Pastor Menzies is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society. Before coming to pastor Perryville he served two years at Maple Avenue Baptist Church in Newport, RI. Between 2001-2012 he also served as interim speaker at the Pawcatuck Seventh Day Baptist Church. In early 2015 Pastor Menzies started teaching adult ed classes in the OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) program at the University of Rhode Island. He has taught "Belief & Bytes: Faith in an Age of Technology" and a study of his book True Myth: C. S. Lewis and Joseph Campbell on the Veracity of Chrisitianity. His publications are listed below.
Catching a Cup with C.S Lewis
This blog is the result of a lifetime of reading C. S. Lewis and a desire to sit down opposite him with a cup of tea discussing things on my mind seeking his advice. His responses are based on his letters and books.
True Myth: C. S. Lewis and Joseph Campbell on the Veracity of Christianity.
Each generation asks in its own way, "What does it mean to be human?" True Myth addresses this question by exploring myth and religion in the thinking of mythologist Joseph Campbell and Oxford don C. S. Lewis.
Joseph Campbell understood Christianity as comprised of mythical themes similar to those in other religious and secular myths. Admitting that certain portions of the biblical record are historical, he taught the theological and miraculous aspects as symbolic, as stories in which the reader discovers what it means to be human today.
C. S. Lewis defined Christianity, and being truly human, as a relationship between the personal Creator and his creation mediated through faith in his son, Jesus Christ. In contrast to Campbell, Lewis took the theological and miraculous literally. Although Lewis understood how one could see symbolism and lessons for life in miraculous events, he believed they were more than symbolic and indeed took place in human history.
Not only are the ways Campbell and Lewis utilize myth in answering the question for their generation explored, but the influence and presence of myth in philosophy, media, ethics, history, literature, art, music, and religion in a contemporary context is discussed as well, thus helping readers consider answers for their own age.
A Church in The Place (self-published).
In the summer of 1996 I was asked to consider teaching a workshop at a mission's conference on the topic "The Small Church's Impact on World Evangelism." In preparing for the workshop I decided to research the history of missions at Perryville Bible Church. I went back and read church clerk reports, financial reports, mission board reports, and flyers from previous missionary conferences. As I sought to bring all this information together into a summary outline I realized there was a wealth of history stored away in old books and boxes that few folks knew existed. I began to read about the origin of the church, its first members and pastors, its early meeting places, its goals, struggles, and victories.
Following the November workshop I couldn't put out of my mind that so much history was unknown to so many who now called Perryville their home church. Perryville Church was at that time over 150 years old and, for a century-and-a-half, believers had gathered together to worship God and sought to infiltrate their culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ. How much had the church changed in that time? How much had the culture changed? What challenges did the church face then and what methods did it use to accomplish its goals? How close to the original church is the church of today? In some things, such as theology, faithfulness to tradition is vital; in other things, such as methodology, such faithfulness is a slow death.
This book is the result of that research. It offers details on how the church began, what prompted the people to build a total of three different church buildings, what lead to the practice of "Roll Call Sunday" (in 1903), the moment the church got electric lights (in 1917, in memory of Katharine Perry Clarke), as well as statistics on such minor and major things as pastors' salaries, the price of firewood and coal, average attendance of Sunday School and services, and finally, a collection (though not exhaustive) of names from the first members up to the end of the writing in 2001.